Daily Thoughts 179: Driven to Write

Author's selfieIt seems I can’t help but set goals. I try to get away from doing that, and then I come up with another goal. I’m drawn to set goals.

This morning I was thinking about Drive-By Stories. The project has been up and down. It’s up(ish) with only one story right now. The website needs to be redesigned to do what I want. It needs artwork. It really needs more stories! The concept is simple enough.

Short stories written while driving.

I know. Not safe, right? Hands-free all the way. I start the recorder before I pull out and stop it after I park. Dragon transcribes the recording when I drop it in my autotranscription folder to create the first draft of the story. I use that to redraft the story for the final draft. They’re short.

I’d decided not to do the writing challenge. Or the art challenge. I still have work to do for my MLIS. I have other projects that I’m working on as well. I’m trying to be kind to myself.

And I still feel the need to set goals.

Inputs, Not Outputs

In the past, I’ve mostly tracked outputs. How many words written, stories completed, or novels published. I’ve done streaks with writing goals for a minimum daily amount. I don’t tend to track the inputs that go into creating those works. Namely, time.

Or, more accurately, I haven’t focused on it. In point of fact, I do track it. At least when it comes to the computer. I use RescueTime. It tracks my time spent, applications and websites used. It offers goals and other features, including offline tracking. It’s the offline tracking that makes this idea possible.

Since I’m already using it, I can use RescueTime to track streaks and other time put into my work.

My basic plan: dictate each morning on the way to work. Ideally, I’ll write some stories. But I’m not going to set goals for the number of stories. Or words. Just that I dictate in the mornings on my way to work. Simple? We’ll see. Hopefully, the outcome will be that I actually complete some more stories.


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This blog post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Daily Update, or Doing Too Much

No Pain...
No Pain…

Current Word Count Stats

Today: [postcount] | Month: [postcountmonth] | Year: [postcountyear]

[postsessions]

Today

It’s not Friday the 13th yet, but that’s coming up next month. Could you run from a slasher? Those guys always seem to catch up, even when they don’t run.

I had a plan this morning. Get up early and go out and run. I’d taken yesterday off as a rest day from my longer run on Monday and thought it would be enough. So when the alarm went off I got up, stretched and went out to run.

Right off the bat I noticed how sore my legs were, but I thought they would loosen up. They didn’t. I kept going, thinking it would get better. I stopped and stretched but it didn’t help. I ended walking most of the way instead of running.

Since the whole thing took longer than I’d expected I didn’t have as much time to write as I’d planned.

Later I finished up the rest of my word count on breaks, and after work.

Yesterday I installed RescueTime. I like the behind-the-scenes tracking that doesn’t require a lot of work on my part.  It’s pretty easy to categorize websites and applications. The premium version offers more, but for right now I’m going to stick with trying this one and see how much time I spend on other things, and how much I spend actually working.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.

Daily Update, or Eye to the Future

Eye to the Future
Eye to the Future

Current Word Count Stats

Today: [postcount] | Month: [postcountmonth] | Year: [postcountyear]

[postsessions]

Today

Back to work at the Day Job today. I’m tired from the longer run yesterday, but feeling pretty good for the most part. I’d like to get more done than I’ve been doing lately. Not necessarily more words written, although that’d be nice. Mostly I want to try to spend more time studying, reading and learning. I want to do more art practice and get more of my backlist up and available.

Not counting the novels I plan to write, just including what’s already written or in progress, I have 135 titles. If I take out what’s already released that takes it down to 113 titles. That’s still a lot to get out!

It doesn’t take a long time to do a single story, mostly I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with the layout and file generation parts of that task. The main thing that takes time is working on the cover illustration, so I need to try to work on those more. I also need to start working with more tools than just pencils. I think I’ll keep the story illustrations loose sketches, but I want to branch out and develop my skills further. I always want to be learning more.

Something has to give if I’m making my creative goals my priority. Maybe, though, it’s just wasted time that has to give. Spend less time mindlessly browsing Facebook, watching Youtube, or otherwise spending time on things that don’t move my goals forward. That doesn’t mean that I don’t relax and just have fun, but it’s amazing how much time can pass without even noticing it.

Timer Test

Tracking is a powerful motivator. I track word counts, to-do items, miles run, time spent running, but how much time do I spend on various activities on the computer? How much time to I spend wasted online? What websites?

I’m going to try out RescueTime’s trial and see what it reports. If it’s useful it might help me see how much time I’m spending on other tasks. I’ll post my experiences starting tomorrow.

To catch up on other posts in this series, check out the contents page: Working Creatively With a Day Job.

If you enjoy these posts, please comment and share with others. It does take time that could be spent on other projects, so if you want to show additional support, consider picking up copies of my books or stories either for your own enjoyment, or for someone else.